The computer continuously tracks how the engine is operated. For instance, a lot of stop and go driving or short trips will translate into a shorter oil life than, say, mostly highway driving. Using the mileage recommendation from the owner's manual also requires you to pick the correct operating condition such as "normal" or "severe". The definitions for operating condition are somewhat subjective and the conditions may change over the oil change interval. You may end up changing the oil sooner or later than needed. The computer provides a more accurate oil change interval based on actual use rather than general operational averages. BTW, time is an important consideration. The additives in oil breakdown over time. Low mileage, typified by short trips that do not allow the engine to get up to operating temperature and maintain it for a period of time, may require the oil to be changed, say, once a year even if the mileage is far short of the recommended oil change interval.